The anti-Muslim demonstrators derided the counter-protesters as out of touch elites. Counter-protesters held a banner reading “Refuse Fascism” and chanted while the other side shouted back about female genital mutilation and honor killings.
Police officers and barricades stood between the two groups.
Clusters of protesters gathered on four corners of an intersection at a memorial to the slain, less than a quarter-mile from the building where the massacre occurred.
Denise Zamora, 39, of Upland said the group wasn’t opposed to all Muslims. “We are anti-radical Islam”, one anti-Sharia demonstrator said during the rally.
Raymond Santos, 55, said he was not personally associated with ACT, but supports the Anti-Shariah Law cause. The high figure for the counter-rally was roughly 70 people.
The two groups drowned each other out as they yelled chants.
He says only “radical extremist groups” would call for that. “There are so many messages going on that I’m not sure who’s who”.
ACT for America is the group that organized the almost two dozen rallies against Islamic law that took place across the country. The organization said it opposes discrimination and supports the rights of those subject to Sharia.
“They hate America. They’re anti-American and they pretend like they’re not, but they are anti-American”.
“Sharia Law has nothing to do with the country”. “Sharia, if you define it, is a path”, said mosque member Ata Ahmad, “not something that supersedes the Constitution”. “It’s how you draft your will”. At one point the scene became chaotic and police pepper sprayed a group of people after a fight broke out.
While many around the USA protested against Sharia Law Saturday, people of different faiths and cultures came together Saturday evening to celebrate a Muslim holiday. And on the other side of the street, dozens of protesters wearing face masks and carrying red and black protest flags.
In New York, for example, the “anti-Shariah” rally involved around three dozen people, while counter-protesters numbered in the hundreds.
“We’re here to educate and to bridge that gap, and to let people know that the United States Constitution has more aligned with the Sharia than people might understand”, said Zahir Muhammad Mannan, director of outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Meriden.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports (https://goo.gl/kaAlbt ) about 100 people gathered inside the Capitol rotunda and listened to speeches asserting Islamic law is a threat to democracy.
Though there were warnings that the ACT marches could lead to violence, a low turnout combined with little voter appetite for the group’s message has resulted in a relatively peaceful day so far, with just one arrest documented in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The “March Against Sharia” rallies come amid a spike in reports of anti-Muslim incidents across the United States.